December 11, 2009

House Passes Satellite Home Viewer Extension

On December 3, the House of Representatives passed a 5-year extension of the compulsory copyright license for satellite television providers.  The bill passed by a vote of 394-11.  The current license is scheduled to expire on December 31, 2009. 

Chairman John Conyers (D.-Mich.) of the House Judiciary Committee described the other major changes the bill makes:   

In addition to simply reauthorizing the license, the bill ambitiously tackles several other issues for consumers, for content owners, and for cable and satellite companies as well. For example, this bill restores the section 119 license to DISH Satellite Network if they serve every market in the United States, even neglected rural markets. The bill also resolves the phantom signal problem that has caused instability and confusion for the cable and content industries, to the detriment of consumers.

In addition, the bill provides an audit right to content owners so they can be sure that they are being fairly compensated for the use of their intellectual property. It significantly increases penalties for copyright infringement under the licenses and updates the licenses to reflect the national digital television transition.

You can find the full text of the House debate here.

You can find the text of the bill as passed by the House here.

The Senate has not yet considered the bill, but it is expected to do so before it adjourns for the year.

Categories: Legislative Updates

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